Victim's family sues strip club for allegedly over-serving drunk driver

December 23, 2011 3:19:07 PM PST
Too drunk to walk, but this man gets in a vehicle, drives away, and kills a teenage girl. Now the victim's family says the strip club he left that night should share the blame.

The drunk driver in the case has been convicted and is being punished. But an attorney for the family of the victim says the business he visited that night should also pay.

The victim's family is suing Legs Cabaret, the strip club which they say over-served alcohol to a patron who then drove drunk, and killed a beautiful young woman who had her whole life ahead of her.

Jasmine Smith, 18, was riding home with a friend last April on the Gulf Freeway when the vehicle she was in was rear-ended. It slammed into the guard rail and rolled. She was ejected. She died eight days later.

Loren Zoellers was convicted earlier this month of intoxication manslaughter, and given probation and 120 days in jail.

Now Smith's family is suing the bartender and the strip club that supplied his alcohol before the wreck.

"The bar is who holds the responsibility," said plaintiff's attorney, Will Womble.

He gave us this video which he says is from inside Legs Cabaret, showing Zoeller allegedly being served mixed drinks repeatedly over the course of nearly five hours before the wreck.

"What you see on the video is drink after drink, pour after pour, Mr. Zoellers is being served a mixed beverage -- seven different times," said Womble.

He says you can see what appears to be Zoellers at one point standing at the bar, unsteady. As he leaves at 2am, Zoellers walks out the front door and stops to shake the hand of a bouncer, staggering then across the parking lot where he falls and rolls across the grass before getting into his truck. Zoellers gets in the vehicle and backs into a building before driving off without turning his headlights on.

"He has not clue what is going on at this point. He is a clear danger to himself and others. He should have never gotten as far as he did," Womble said.

The wreck that killed Jasmine Smith happened just 19 minutes later.

Zoellers' blood alcohol level was measured at .20 -- nearly three times the legal limit.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says this case highlights a problem with enforcement of laws that govern businesses that serve alcohol.

We were not able to find the bartender and an attorney for Legs Cabaret has not returned our calls for comment.

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